352 Inc. / Digital Marketing / February 29th, 2008

eMail Spam bots

email spam bots collects email addresses from the Internet and use those emails to create lists to send unsolicited e-mail, because email addresses have a distinct format, its easy for these spam programs to pick your email address from your website and bombard you with spam – so when you open your email client on Monday morning you have 300 emails and one is legit, this is one of the causes.  Also never reply to spam mail and ask them to take you of the list as this confirms your email is active — so you can expect even more.

Some solutions to combat spam include:

Address Munging – the practice of disguising the email address

So email@threefivetwomedia.com would be email at threefivetwomedia dot com (I wouldn’t suggest this format for a professional site)

no-one<i>@</i>example<i>.</i>com (as HTML) — This is still readable and can be copied directly from web pages, but stops many email harvesters.

Masking – these change e-mail-address to ASCII code or JavaScript-coded text.

Mask Email ASCII Generator see link for details http://digitalcolony.com/lab/maskemail/maskEmailASCII.aspx

Mask and cloak your email address from spammers see link http://www.iconico.com/emailProtector/

E-mail blockers or filters.
Usually these reside on your server and are very effective, on the flip side they do block legit emails, so you will need to add some senders to a safe list.  The blocker we use at 352 is amazing I get a report each morning of all blocked spam along with any viruses that where sent.

CAPTCHA
This requires the user type info displayed on a distorted image, usually letters or digits into a form field – however these good but not great, in my opinion.

Using an Image.
Add your email address to the site using an image, this will prevent any bots from picking it up – however this not great for web page accessibility standards and some also disable hyperlink capability.

If you don’t have Photoshop – use this site http://digitalcolony.com/lab/maskemail/maskEmail.aspx

Using CSS (and my personal favorite)
Set up a form with a text field and using CSS make it invisible. Then, if an email is sent, the script handler will see that hidden text box has information in it, that means a human didn’t fill it out, and the email is simply aborted.